Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

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Fisching
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Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby Fisching » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:11 pm

Fastinated with this book, like so many others, I felt this article was worth sharing. Jon Krakauer wrote an article in the New Yorker following up his best-seller, "Into the Wild," and revisits his theory on what killed Chris McCandless more than 20 years ago. Love him or hate him (there seems to be no middle ground), Chris McCandless remains one of the more enigmatic figures of recent history.

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/09/how-chris-mccandless-died.html
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Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby flyingmagpie » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:50 pm

Fascinating. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby kansas » Thu Sep 12, 2013 7:57 pm

Good stuff, Greg. Thanks for posting it.
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Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby madbuck » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:16 pm

Thanks for that, interesting follow-up 20 years(!) later, and interesting synthesis of knowledge from varied sources that led to the conclusion.
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Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby aweygandt » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:00 pm

Whoa, very interesting!
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Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby Greenhouseguy » Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:04 pm

Definitely worth reading, if you're a fan of "Into the Wild."
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Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby TallGrass » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:50 pm

Related story recently in the news, August 27, 2013:

"Before the body was found, David Croom told KXAS-TV in Phoenix that Johnathan had been talking to a friend about Into the Wild and had said "that it would be great to just leave penniless and just work along the way and get resources like they did in the movie." "
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/27/sheriff-missing-arizona-teen-found-dead-in-oregon/2705011/

"Hutson said earlier that text messages between Croom and a friend indicated Croom wanted to run away. Hutson said Croom also talked to his parents about Christopher McCandless, whose journey to Alaska was documented in the book Into the Wild. "
http://news.yahoo.com/sheriff-missing-arizona-teen-found-dead-oregon-032149023.html
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Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby Hungry Jack » Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:50 am

I understand the disgust with McCandless and his choices in life, but I recall being young once too and experiencing sturm and drang, and pursuing unusual activities to find meaning and truth. I accept what McCandless did without harsh judgment. It was torturous for his family, and he should have communicated with them rather than cutting them off as he did, but I think he eventually would have come to his senses. He is not the only kid to go that route at that point in life. Unfortunately, his path led him to his end before he was ever able to have those conversations.

I think Krakauer's assessment of McCandless is quite fair and balanced, though I think Krakauer's fascination with the extreme outdoor sports and willingness to embrace risks probably tilts him to be more accepting of McCandless' decisions.

The article basically sums up McCandless final acts as one of living with no margin for error, and he made an error that almost anyone else would have made. There are probably a handful of people on the planet who would have known then that those plants where horrifically toxic to someone in McCandless' malnourished condition.

It is a remarkable story of sleuthing and brings the chapter to a close.
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Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby Hungry Jack » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:31 am

Great point Dex. In today's age of "modern" psychiatry, I have little doubt that McCandless would have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness, and prescribed drugs to treat it. But this type of behavior has been going on for centuries. As you note, it is just more popularized and sensationalized now through digital media.

I don't think McCandless had interest in fame, and I don't think Krakauer (or the vast majority of feature writers) is motivated by money, because writing is an awful way to make a living, especially a decent one.

You would have to be pretty far out on the spectrum to; 1) disown your family that by all appearances has raised you in a very safe and nurturing environment with opportunity (not everyone can go to Emory University); 2) take the type of physical risks McCandless embraced.

His acts and techniques during the final Alaska episode reveal his ignorance. But is it that much different than a tourists who ventures up Longs Peak with a late start, wearing jeans and a cotton shirt, in the midst of an active monsoon? The stakes were much higher for McCandless, but I am not sure ignorance is necessarily a sign of mental illness.

That ranger article basically concludes that McCandless willfully committed suicide. That is a HUGE leap to a powerful conclusion that lacks any real basis in fact. Was Evil Knieval suicidal because he tried to rocket himself across the gorge? Even the most willful acts of ignorance and negligence can be judged as suicidal without much more evidence of the person's true mental state. We do not know this about McCandless.

I am convinced he was seeking something in Alaska. But I don't think it was death.
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Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby peter303 » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:36 am

This guy claims Krakeur got a lot of his facts wrong:
http://www.tifilms.com/wild/call_debunked.htm
I saw him and his film at the Denver International Film Festival a few years ago.

At least two young men disappeared this year after reading the book.
http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/27/us/into-the-wild-missing-teen/index.html
The idea of the book certainly appeals to a lot of us - just get away from it all.
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Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby Presto » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:43 am

by Hungry Jack » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:31 am
... and I don't think Krakauer is motivated by money, because writing is an awful way to make a living, especially a decent one.


http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/authors/jon-krakauer-net-worth/

Maybe not "motivated by money" in your opinion, but certainly worth a lot.
As if none of us have ever come back with a cool, quasi-epic story instead of being victim to tragic rockfall, a fatal stumble, a heart attack, an embolism, a lightning strike, a bear attack, collapsing cornice, some psycho with an axe, a falling tree, carbon monoxide, even falling asleep at the wheel getting to a mountain. If you can't accept the fact that sometimes "s**t happens", then you live with the illusion that your epic genius and profound wilderness intelligence has put you in total and complete control of yourself, your partners, and the mountain. How mystified you'll be when "s**t happens" to you! - FM
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Re: Krakauer's Follow-up on "Into the Wild"

Postby Hungry Jack » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:51 am

Presto wrote:
by Hungry Jack » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:31 am
... and I don't think Krakauer is motivated by money, because writing is an awful way to make a living, especially a decent one.


http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/authors/jon-krakauer-net-worth/

Maybe not "motivated by money" in your opinion, but certainly worth a lot.


Agreed. Thanks to the sale of the movie rights to Into the Wild, he struck gold. I doubt he wrote the novel for that purpose. If that had been his intent, he would have just written a screenplay and sold it.
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